GENERAL
  1. What activities require Environmental Authorisation?
  2. How and where is an Environmental Authorisation obtained?
  3. What is the difference between Basic Assessment and Scoping and EIA?
  4. Who is involved in an Application for Environmental Authorisation?
  5. What are the roles and responsibilities of the Applicant/Developer?
  6. What are the roles and responsibilities of the Competent Authority?
  7. What are the roles and responsibilities of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant?
  8. What are the roles and responsibilities of an Interested and Affected Party?
  9. An Exemption was granted and no-one contacted me even though I live next door. What can I do?
  10. The Applicant/Developer is not the owner of the land on which the listed activity is proposed? Can the Applicant still proceed with an Application for Environmental Authorisation?
  11. I gave an Applicant/Developer permission to undertake an activity on my land but he is doing something other than what he told me he was going to do. What can I do?
  12. The Consultant has a definite business, personal or financial interest in the activity/Application in respect of which he has been appointed. I thought the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant must be objective?
  13. I am of the opinion that the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is not objective, what can I do?
  14. Whose responsibility is it to initiate and drive the EIA process?
  15. The Applicant/Developer is undertaking two or more activities as part of the same development. Does he need two or more Applications?
  16. The Applicant/Developer intends to build the same development at several locations. Can she submit one Application for all the projects?
  17. I have 14 days to submit comments on the report and Day 14 is Wednesday the 9th of August which is Woman's Day and therefore a Public Holiday. Can I submit my comments on the Thursday instead?
  18. Last year an Applicant/Developer was denied permission to build a project and now he is resubmitting essentially the same proposal. Can he do that?
  19. My neighbour can't read or write but wants to participate in the EIA process for a development near his home. What can he do?

What activities require Environmental Authorisation?

Activities that are listed either in Listing 1 or in Listing 2 require Environmental Authorisation before commencement.

Q: How and where is an Environmental Authorisation obtained?

Application for authorisation to commence with a listed activity must be made to the Competent Authority, which decides whether to grant authorisation or to refuse it. Depending on the type of activity, the Application for authorisation must either be subjected to a Basic Assessment or the more thorough Scoping and EIA. Provision is also made for an Applicant to apply to the Competent Authority and request to be exempted fom any provision of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

Q: What is the difference between Basic Assessment and Scoping and EIA?

Basic Assessment is the environmental assessment applied to activities listed in Listing 1. These are smaller scale activities, the impacts of which are generally known and can be easily managed. Typically, these activities are considered less likely to have significant environmental impacts and, therefore, do not require a full-blown and detailed Environmental Impact Assessment.

A Basic Assessment Report is a more concise analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed activity than Scoping EIA Reports. However, Basic Assessment still requires public notice and participation, consideration of the potential environmental impacts of the activity, assessment of possible mitigation measures, and an assessment of whether there are any significant issues or impacts that might require further investigation. The Basic Assessment Report must provide the Competent Authority with enough information to consider the Application and to reach a decision. If the Competent Authority is unable to decide based on Basic Assessment Report alone, the Competent Authority may request an Applicant to subject the proposed activity to the more thorough Scoping and EIA process.

Scoping and EIA requires a thorough environmental assessment for activities contained in Listing 2Listing 2 are those activities that (due to their nature and/or extent) are likely to have significant impacts that cannot be easily predicted. They are therefore higher risk activities that are associated with potentially higher levels of pollution, waste and environmental degradation.

A Scoping Report (including Plan of Study) requires a description of the proposed activity and any feasible and reasonable alternatives, a description of the property and the environment that may be affected and the manner in which the biological, social, economic and cultural aspects of the environment may be impacted upon by the proposed activity; description of environmental issues and potential impacts, including cumulative impacts that have been identified, and details of the public participation process undertaken. In addition, a Scoping Report must contain a roadmap for an Environmental Impact Assessment, referred to as the Plan of Study for the EIA, specifying the methodology to be used to assess the potential impacts, and the specialists or specialist reports that will be necessary.

An Applicant may only conduct an EIA after the Competent Authority has approved the Scoping Report and the Plan of Study for the EIA.

The Scoping and EIA Process culminates in the development and submission of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and the Draft Environmental Management Plan to the Competent Authority.

Q: Who is involved in an Application for Environmental Authorisation?

The Applicant/Developer; the Competent Authority; the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and Interested and Affected Parties.

Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of the Applicant/Developer?

Must appoint an Environmental Assessment Practitioner to manage the Application;

Must provide the Environmental Assessment Practitioner and Competent Authority with access to all available information relevant to the Application;

Must provide the Environmental Assessment Practitioner and Competent Authority with access to all the relevant information;

Must provide the Environmental Assessment Practitioner with truthful information relevant to the proposed identified activity; and

Must pay any costs or fees applicable to the Application.

Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of the Competent Authority?

  • Must make decisions on Applications for Environmental Authorisations in accordance with the Regulations;
  • Notify Applicant/Developer of decision, conditions and Appeal provisions;
  • Must comply with the specified timeframes;
  • Must give access to information that may be relevant to the Application;
  • Must give written reasons for decisions;
  • Must enter into written agreements with organs of state with jurisdiction;
  • Must, if applicable, consider and respond to Appeals;
  • May pass national and/or provincial guidelines;
  • May adopt an Environmental Management Framework;
  • May withdraw, amend or suspend an Environmental Authorisation;
  • Must make decisions in an open and transparent manner;
  • Must request additional information or that further studies be conducted if necessary;
  • Must give reasons for the decision to the Applicant; and
  • Must give reasonable assistance to a person who is unable to participate as a result of illiteracy, disability or any other disadvantage.

Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant?

  • Must ascertain whether the Basic Assessment or Scoping and EIA Application process should be followed;
  • Must be independent and objective;
  • Must have expertise in conducting Environmental Impact Assessments;
  • Must disclose any information that may affect the Competent Authority's decision;
  • Must take any relevant national and/or provincial guidelines into consideration; and
  • Must manage the Application process, by -
    • giving notice, in writing, of the proposed activity to any organ of state with jurisdiction in respect of any aspect of the activity
    • compiling the relevant reports
    • submitting required documentation to Competent Authority
    • If applicable amend reports and or provide additional information upon Competent Authority's request
    • notifying Interested and Affected Party of the Competent Authority's decision and Appeal provisions
    • conducting at least basic public participation -
      • arrange the required public participation activities
      • provide adequate time for public participation
      • provide Interested and Affected Parties with information that will enable them to participate
      • keep a register of Interested and Affected Parties and record their inputs
      • consider and record all objections and representations received from Interested and Affected Parties
      • provide Interested and Affected Parties with an opportunity to comment on all reports

Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of an Interested and Affected Party?

  • May participate in the Application process;
  • May comment on any written communication submitted to the Competent Authority;
  • Must comment within the specified/agreed timeframes;
  • Must send copies of any comments to the Applicant/Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant if submitted directly to Competent Authority;
  • Must disclose any interest in Application being granted or refused; and
  • May Appeal a final decision.

Q: An Exemption was granted and no-one contacted me even though I live next door. What can I do?

The Competent Authority can withdraw or amend an Exemption. You must notify the Competent Authority that your rights and interests were affected and describe your objection to the Exemption or project.

You can also lodge an Appeal against the decision within the appropriate timeframe.

Q: The Applicant/Developer is not the owner of the land on which the listed activity is proposed? Can the Applicant still proceed with an Application for Environmental Authorisation?

Yes.

If the Applicant/Developer is not the owner of the land on which the activity is to be undertaken, the Applicant/Developer must obtain written consent of the landowner to undertake the activity. This written consent must be submitted to the Competent Authority together with the Application form requestingEnvironmental Authorisation (both Basic Assessment and Scoping and EIA).

However, if the Applicant/Developer proposes to undertake a linear activity, such as a pipeline or a road that possibly runs across more than one landowner's property, he does not need the written consent of the owners, provided that he has given written notice to the owners of the land on which the activity is to be undertaken as soon as the proposed route is identified. Proof of this written notification must be submitted to the Competent Authority together with the Application form requesting Environmental Authorisation (both Basic Assessment and Scoping and EIA). If you own the land on which the linear activity is proposed to cross, contact the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant and make sure that you are registered as an Interested and Affected Partyand be sure to submit your comments.

Q: I gave an Applicant/Developer permission to undertake an activity on my land but he is doing something other than what he told me he was going to do. What can I do?

Notify the Competent Authority; in writing. The Competent Authority may withdraw an Environmental Authorisation if the authorisation was obtained through fraudulent means, misrepresentation, non-disclosure of material information or if the conditions contained in the authorisation are not adhered to.

Q: The Consultant has a definite business, personal or financial interest in the activity/Application in respect of which he has been appointed. I thought the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant must be objective?

The Regulations require the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to be independent of the Applicant/Developer and perform the work in anobjective manner. If you have concerns about the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant's independence, raise them with the Competent Authority.

If at any stage the Competent Authority has reason to believe that an Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is not independent, it must: notify the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant of the reasons for its belief and afford it the opportunity to make representations to the Competent Authority about his/her independence.

If, after considering the Environmental Assessment Practitioner's comments, it is not convinced that the Environmental Assessment Practitioner is independent, the Competent Authority may refuse to accept any further reports or input from the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant. Earlier reports may have to be redone.

Q: I am of the opinion that the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant is not objective, what can I do?

Notify the Competent Authority of your concern and provide any evidence that you may have to support your allegation. If an Environmental Authorisation has already been obtained you can Appeal the decision.

Q: Whose responsibility is it to initiate and drive the EIA process?

The Applicant/Developer is responsible for initiating the EIA process by appointing an Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant to manage the EIA process. However, although the Environmental Assessment Practitioner/Consultant carries out the EIA work, the ultimate responsibility to ensure that the EIA laws are fully complied with rests with the Applicant/Developer as it is his or her project.

Q: The Applicant/Developer is undertaking two or more activities as part of the same development. Does he need two or more Applications?

No. The Applicant/Developer can submit a single Application on one Application form that contains information about all activities.

Q: The Applicant/Developer intends to build the same development at several locations. Can she submit one Application for all the projects?

In general separate Applications must be submitted for each location even if they are to be undertaken in the same province. However, the Competent Authoritymay, at written request of the Applicant/Developer, grant permission for the submission of a single Application on one Application form. If this permission is granted, the process may be consolidated but the potential of the environmental impacts of each activity must be considered in terms of each separate location.

Q: I have 14 days to submit comments on the report and Day 14 is Wednesday the 9th of August which is Woman's Day and therefore a Public Holiday. Can I submit my comments on the Thursday instead?

When calculating a period of time beginning with a decision you received on, for example, a Wednesday, count the following day i.e. the Thursday, as day one and then count each day thereafter. However if the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Public holiday, the time period is extended to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Public holiday. So if the day your comments have to be submitted therefore falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Public holiday, you only have to submit your comments on the first working day thereafter. You can therefore submit your comments on the Thursday, which will be the first working day after the Public holiday.

Q: Last year an Applicant/Developer was denied permission to build a project and now he is resubmitting the essentially same proposal. Can he do that?

Maybe. An Applicant/Developer is not permitted to submit an Application that is substantially similar to a previous Application by the Applicant/Developer which has been refused unless the Application contains new or material information not previously submitted. The Applicant/Developer can however submit the same Application after a period of three years has elapsed.

Q: My neighbour can't read or write but wants to participate in the EIA process for a development near his home. What can he do?

The Competent Authority processing an Application or an Appeal must give reasonable assistance to a person who wishes to object to the Application or lodge an Appeal against a decision if that person is unable to do so himself due to illiteracy, disability, or any other disadvantage. Therefore notify the Competent Authority of his illiteracy and request assistance.